Trump ready to levy 10 percent import tariff on iPhone, MacBook

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
Trump is ready, willing, and able to enact iPhone tarrifs.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Apple products have so far escaped the growing trade war between China and the Trump administration, but the grace period may be coming to an end soon. The president is getting ready to put tariffs on additional products being imported from China, and that specifically includes the iPhone.

President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he’s prepared to put tariffs on all products being shipped from China that don’t already have them. And he’s also ready to raise the import fees on items already taxed from 10 percent to 25 percent.

When the WSJ asked if that includes handsets like the iPhone as well as notebook computers, Trump said, “Depends on what the rate is, I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily.”

iPhone tariffs still up in the air

U.S. and Chinese negotiators are trying to reach a deal that will both prevent future import taxes and remove current ones, but their current positions are far apart.

The president in particular is holding a hard line. “The only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States,” he told the WSJ.

In this interview, Trump again urged companies to produce their products in the U.S. Unfortunately, the solution isn’t that simple. The suggestion ignores the fact that an iPhone is only assembled in China, and almost all its individual components are produced in other countries, including the U.S.